Dark Bilious Vapors

But how could I deny that I possess these hands and this body, and withal escape being classed with persons in a state of insanity, whose brains are so disordered and clouded by dark bilious vapors....
--Rene Descartes, Meditations on First Philosophy: Meditation I

Home » Archives » October 2004 » Mike, just go ahead and call me an elitist....

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10/19/2004: Mike, just go ahead and call me an elitist....

but living in Tennessee for as long as I have (and that's not very long), this doesn't surprise me at all. From Taegan Goddard's Political Wire:

Are Voters Stupid?
As most
Political Wire readers know, we spend a lot of time analyzing polling methodologies trying to make a determination whether the polls we report are accurate or not. But a key finding from a recent Middle Tennessee State University poll is much more startling:
"A close look at five key domestic agenda items suggests that Tennesseans as a group hardly qualify as well-informed and ideologically consistent policy wonks. On four of the five issues, only about half of a given candidate’s supporters hold opinions consistent with those of the candidate."
The Votemaster notes it's "not considered politically correct to point out that an awful lot of voters don't have a clue what they are talking about."
But The Votemaster continues (this not quoted on Political Wire):
A recent poll from Middle Tennessee State University sheds some light on the subject. For example, when asked which candidate wants to roll back the tax cuts for people making over $200,000 a year, a quarter thought it was Bush and a quarter didn't know. And it goes down hill from there. When asked which candidate supports specific positions on various issues, the results were no better than chance. While this poll was in Tennessee, I strongly suspect a similar poll in other states would get similar results. I find it dismaying that many people will vote for Bush because they want to tax the rich (which he opposes) or vote for Kerry because they want school vouchers for religious schools (which he opposes).
I am seriously wondering how the hell we've kept a reasonably democratic republic for as long as we have. I suppose it's another data point in favor of one of my favorite hypotheses explaining the dumbing down of the population: "Well, the amount of intelligence in the universe is constant, and the population is increasing."

Speaking of The Votemaster (which is keeping a running tally of electoral votes, and a cool roll-over map that will key you into the results of the last poll in each state as you roll your cursor over it), his map has me scratching my head. He lists Tennessee as "Strongly Bush", based on the last MTSU poll showing a 50%-39% lead for Bush over Kerry.

What I want to know is, does he really think that missing 11% of respondents is going to vote Nader?

Len on 10.19.04 @ 01:01 PM CST


Replies: 1 comment

on Tuesday, October 19th, 2004 at 10:24 PM CST, mike said



Seriously, remember that most folks couldn't vote until the 20th century. Women, most non-whites, folks who didn't own property (early on) or couldn't pay, anyone judged "not sane," etc. Spreading the franchise to so many, the inevitable result is a dumbing down of the average voter's IQ.

I also subscribe to the view that political parties aren't what they used to be. Once, parties had firm platforms, histories, great legacies, etc. Today, they are more like brand names, which can be applied to any product.

For example, different brands of cars once had real differences that meant something. Today, not so much. Buying "Ford" or "Chrysler" doesn't mean what it once did, but many folks act like it still does. So it is with the parties. That's why a Dem can support welfare reform and a Republican can have a prescription drug plan. As long as the stockholders behind the brand make a profit, all's good.

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